Yup, we're in the "big city" now

Yup, we’re in the “big city” now!

So yours truly is (one again) getting up to no good on her own while hubby is away. That means it’s just me and the paws…the paws and I, and we’re doing it all in “big city” Boise. I place this in inverted commas because Boise is one of the few capitals we’ve travelled through that doesn’t feel large at all. There’s a mere 200,000 or so souls living here, a modest-sized downtown and pretty much all the shops and conveniences you’d expect. But what sets this place apart and makes it special is the nature. Right behind the city high-rises, and in fact even through downtown itself there are massive dedicated areas of green all for the benefit of humans and paws…and that gives the town a whole different feel.

Boise City boasts over 850 acres of parks and natural areas and backs up against the fabulous Boise foothills, a 130-mile network of scenic and loose-yourself-in-the-mountains trails. These areas are not only human, bike and paw-friendly, but many of them have dedicated off-leash trails! That’s a total rarity in big cities and for passionate doggie-lovers like me it’s akin to finding ice cream in the desert….a total treat! I’ve not even come close to exploring all the spots, but figured I would share two of my favs:

On the trails in the Boise foothills

On the trails in the Boise foothills

A relaxing river-stop on the Greenbelt

A relaxing river-stop on the downtown Greenbelt

1/ Boise Greenbelt

The awesome Boise Greenbelt

The awesome Boise Greenbelt

In 1964 some bright guys had the foresight to hire some other bright guys to create a continuous “green belt” of public lands stretching the entire length of the Boise River. The outcome of this awesome idea was a totally green, totally preserved 22-mile bike/hike/walk trail through the very middle of town. Genius! Our RV park (Boise Riverside RV Park) just happens to sit right on the Greenbelt so pooch and I have been hopping out of bed and onto the trails everyday. They’re leash-only, but there’s tons of access points to the river where you can unofficially go for a dip and a splash. This trail also happens to be a popular fishing spot, a great bike-path and part of the Idaho Birding Trail so there’s a bit of something for everyone.

2/ Boise Foothills

Tons of off-leash friendly trails in the foothills

Tons of off-leash friendly trails in the foothills

The Boise Foothills pretty much engulf the entire northern view of Boise and huge parts of it are public land. What’s ultra-cool is that they’ve designed a big portion of their trails as off-leash friendly so doggie and you can both amble along in nature in total freedom. These trails are not only clearly marked on the maps, but they’re marked on-trail too so there’s never any question of whether your untethered pooch is legal. Polly was pretty much trained to be an off-leash doggie so we seek out these kind of places wherever we can. One our our fav spots is the Old Fort Military Reserve which is only ~15 mins drive from our park and encompasses a huge 460 acre sub-section of the larger foothills. This time of year it’s bursting with glorious yellow blooms and the ridgeline gives sweeping views of downtown. There’s even a dedicated fenced-in off-leash dog park and archery range on-site. Pretty cool!

There’s tons of other pooch-friendly areas around town including 9 other off-leash dog parks and a good selection of paw-happy restaurants (we may well hit one before hubby comes home). Between everything out here it’s one of the paw-friendliest spots I’ve been and that always gives it extra points on my scale.

A rather brilliant sunset at our RV park

A rather brilliant sunset at our RV park

As to getting up to no good? Well, I’ve been ordering packages on Amazon and have received several new Benchmark Atlases (very exciting for me), a new vacuum (on the way…very exciting for the rig) and new empty boxes (very exciting for the cats), plus I’ve been dabbling with motorized needles and thread. The latter sounds dangerous I know, especially for me, and I really have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m pretty sure the outcome will be something to blog about. Hope springs eternal ya know….

Brilliant yellow in the foothills

Brilliant yellow in the foothills

Polly poses with downtown Boise in the background

Polly poses with downtown Boise in the background

A happy cat

A happy cat

Pretty weeds

Pretty weeds

Morning walk on the Greenbelt

Morning walk on the Greenbelt

Gorgeous flowers

Gorgeous flowers

48 Responses to The Paw-Friendly “Big City” – Boise, ID

  1. How very cool for Polly to be able to join you on your outdoor adventures! Don’t you just love how cats enjoy boxes…just like little children.
    Be safe while you are alone;)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah I love being able to hike all over with her! And cats do self-entertain so very well.
      Nina

  2. Waiting to see what your projects are this time. I love a good project or two when the Mr. is away.
    Juley

  3. rexroats says:

    You better stay out of trouble! Have a great time…we all need a little time away from the guys, no matter how much we love/like them!

    • libertatemamo says:

      You know I’m kinda crazy, but I never like being away from hubby. Even when we commuted and worked in the same group we never got tired of being together. Just weird that way.
      Nina

  4. Monica says:

    What RV Park would you suggest we stay at when we come through in July?

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’ve stayed at a couple of different ones in Boise. Each have their pluses and minuses. If you want to be right on the greenbelt and close to town I’d recommend the one we’re staying at now (Boise Riverside). Sites are so-so, but it’s a great location. If you want more polished sites and don’t mind being a bit further from town I’d recommend Hi Valley.
      Nina

      • John Tallyn says:

        If you want a really nice rv park and don’t mind being a ways out of town, I really recommend Snake River RV park in Homedale, Id. Very nice park, sites are a little closer together then I like, but it’s mostly locals, and the place isn’t very crowded during the week. Mgrs are fantastic, sites are all grass, stunning views of the river, and very, very quiet.
        John

        • libertatemamo says:

          Thanks for the tip! It’s always nice to have extra options for visiting Boise. I’ll add it to our list.
          Nina

        • libertatemamo says:

          Just want to say I checked out the website and they really DO look nice. Excellent camping rates too! Thanks very much for the tip. Not sure I would have found that park otherwise since it’s kinda off the beaten path. This is definitely going on the list!
          Nina

  5. John Tallyn says:

    Enjoy your stay, we live in Meridian, just down the road. We’re leaving for Oregon tomorrow, other wise I’d invite you over for a BBQ with my wife and I.
    John

  6. Gaelyn says:

    Nice to have so many paw friendly places around.

  7. Gunta says:

    Somewhere we are going to cross paths as I head East along the Columbia starting Monday. Actual route yet to be determined by weather. Then I’ll be meeting up with you at the Lighthouse eventually…
    Who knew Boise was so paw friendly. Perhaps I’ll make it a point to stop and let the pooch have a nice hike.

    • libertatemamo says:

      If it’s not too hot it’ll be an excellent stop. You can get REALLY nice panoramic views of downtown by hiking only ~0.8 miles or so on the trails at Old Fort Military Reserve. We parked at the 2nd entrance on Mountain Cove Road and took trail#22 (off-leash friendly) right up the hill to an excellent view-spot. Fabulous short hike!!
      You can download the entire Boise foothill trail-map here (PDF document):
      http://www.ridgetorivers.org/media/214476/r2r_2013_lr_4.pdf
      Nina

  8. Sheila says:

    Nina, be careful with motorized needles and your kitties. My mother-in-law was sitting at her sewing machine and one of her cats was so curious about the needle going up and down that it swapped at it and somehow got its paw stuck. She had a heck of a time removing the needle from the cats’ paw – they both did not fair too well with this one.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thankfully my kitties are kinda freaked-out by the machine so they haven’t really been getting close, but it’s a good warning!!
      Nina

  9. Charlotte says:

    Nina, I love the accessibility of the Greenbelt. It’s really a great place and I know your four legged friend is enjoying too. I added it to my campground list. Enjoy

    • libertatemamo says:

      I’m absolutely amazed at how easy it is to get on the Greenbelt here…and it goes right through town!! I’m hoping I get the time to bike-ride the entire length before we leave.
      Nina

  10. Diane Borcyckowski says:

    I’m new to your blog and just love it! Currently I am living vicariously through you. I’m selling a home in Big Bear Lake, CA, hopefully this summer, and will buy a used B+ no more than 24 foot RV. I’m a “widow”, (lost my partner of 23 years – 3-1/2 yrs ago) younger than most with that status, and plan to travel the country alone. I will have friends join me for a week or two at a time on occassion and maybe will find a caravan or group of travelers sometimes too. I have a home in Warrenton, OR, right on the Skippanon (tidal) River with 1/3 of an acre. I’m not there currently, but if you need a place to stop, drive right in on the grass and enjoy the area anyway. Write me at in2trees@gmail.com for the address if you’re interested.

    Do you have an archive of tips on traveling alone, how to travel with cats (mine hate the car – but I’m hoping they won’t notice in an RV), finding free or inexpensive places to stop while just trying to get somewhere, etc.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well kudos to you for taking this journey! I have no doubt it will be an excellent experience for you. If you haven’t already found them, the blogs RV Sue and Me and My Dog are both single ladies on the road with their paws. Also there are lots of solo-RV meetups on the road (IRV2 forums have a good singles group, for example and sometimes do get-togethers).

      Regarding travelling alone, I’ve been with Paul on this journey but travelled alone for years before I met him. I would say just take your time, follow your instincts and enjoy. We personally LOVE public land (state parks, COE, national forest, BLM) and I find it much more comfortable to be in those green spots than in most private parks. Me and My Dog also wrote some posts on solo travel…for example THIS ONE.

      As for travelling with cats, it takes time but they will adapt. I did a short blog-post on this when we first started (CLICK HERE). The key things we did was take it SLOW. We started off by living (stationary) in the RV for a month or so before we travelled so that the kitties could get comfortable and find their spots. Then we started with VERY short drives (only ~30 miles) and I used Bach’s Rescue Remedy each time (really helped to calm them down). We initially had them in bags, but found they were much more comfortable under the bed-covers in the bed.

      The other thing we did was leash-train both cats. Again, it takes time, but it’s really enriched their RV lives by giving them outdoor time each day. I use the HDW cat harness and really love it (no affiliation). They often hang outdoors with us this way too.

      Cheers for the offer to stay!! If we come thro’ that area we will definitely give you a shout.

      Nina

  11. Sue says:

    I’m your same kind of crazy Nina, I never like being separated from Dave. Life is more fun together.
    Sue

  12. Diane Borcyckowski says:

    Thanks so much for all the great ideas and resources! My kitties thank you. Those cat harnesses look really good! Will order two now, before I even have the RV. I tried little strap harnesses once and both cats wiggled out faster than imaginable! These look kitty Houdini proof!

    I’ll be checking out some of those single traveler sites you recommended and following you as well. Thanks again!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I think it’s the perfect idea to leash train before you go fulltime. That’s what we did too. Our cats looked like they were dying the first time we put the jackets on (couldn’t balance…flopping side to side LOL) but they quickly got the hang of it and figured out that jacket meant outdoor time. We started with only a few minutes at a time. Now they love it and will actually come running to the door if I jiggle the leash. Good luck with everything!
      Nina

  13. Liz Johns says:

    Nina, glad you are enjoying Boise. Be careful of the foothills….tick season. My daughter works at a pet store & she said peoples’ dogs are getting a lot of ticks. If you are riding your bike….watch for goat heads (multi -prong thorn)–they hurt if people or animals get them in their feet & they are very nasty for bike tires (have to check the tire for the thorns, plus fix the tube or get a new one). The bike ride for the entire Green Belt is awesome. Have fun exploring! Liz-Boise, Id

  14. The River walkway and bike trail is wonderful…they keep expanding it. We felt Boise’s tug when we were looking for the perfect place to settle down. It was a good fit, but too far from all the other places we love to spend time (Colorado, Arizona, and Utah). On the flip side of that coin is that Boise is closer to the the Pacific Northwest…which has an opposite hold on me come August/September (the only non-gloomy months). Your full-time lifestyle is the perfect way to sample all the wonderful nooks. Also, love the b and w flower photo :)
    Box Canyon Mark…unsettled (thanks to you) in Lovely Ouray, Colorado.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Like you, Boise would definitely make our “short-list” except it’s just slightly out of the way for the other things we like….and summers do get exceptionally hot here. Still, I LOVE visiting this town. Totally dig the green vibe.
      I think you have quite the special combo between Ouray and your in-between RVing. All the spots you get to are also unique!
      Nina

  15. Liz Johns says:

    Nina, forgot to mention if you are still in Boise this weekend, Saturday there is a huge Market in downtown Boise. Think it starts at 9:30. Liz-Boise, ID

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yes, I found it on the web! Definitely going this week-end. I loooove farmers markets!
      Nina

  16. BadKat says:

    Sorry, I am way off your blog today. Just wanted advice on camping full-time. School will out soon and at this point we do not have solar or a generator..which I really dont want the noisy beast. Staying in private CGs..would you think Passport America would be a good choice for us at this point? help BadKat

    • libertatemamo says:

      Sure. I’d just check the areas you’re planning to visit to make sure there are PA campgrounds along the way. The other alternative for saving some $$ is weekly or monthly rates.
      Nina

  17. Upriverdavid says:

    Have you tried Bruneau Dunes SP?..No trains..far from the highway..a nice lake.The old loop has shade, the new has 50 amp service. The outer sites have more space than the inner ones. Great telescopes and astronomy program..And the dunes!!
    David

    • libertatemamo says:

      You know I noticed the signs to that park driving on the 84 From Three Island Crossing SP to Boise, but have never been there. Gotta go check it out! Cheers for the tip.
      Nina

  18. Upriverdavid says:

    Hey Nina, If you do choose to go to Bruneau Dunes take the back road out to H/W 78 headed towards Marsing…The road is great and there are several BLM.ID..or DNR fishing sites to boondock in. There is an old mining town off to the left , Silver City..I don’t remember if you folks like hot springs but Givens Hot springs is on the way to Marsing..It is funky but they have FHU and cheap…They have a very nice large pool and tubs off to the side. The owners are friendly. I love backroads and hate the freeways…..
    Enjoy,
    David

    • libertatemamo says:

      Cheers for the info!! We probably won’t make the trip this time around, but I’m adding it on the list for when we come back to the area.
      Nina

  19. Sue Malone says:

    I think you may have found the foothills trail I mentioned in my email from your photos. I am pretty sure that is the place I was thinking of. My dog loving friend in Boise really loves living there for so many reasons. Nice city. Stay cool!!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Errr…not sure I got an e-mail from you? But yes, this is a GREAT doggie-trail. Will definitely be hitting it several times while we are here.
      Nina

  20. Sue Malone says:

    something else to think about Boise…great place to visit, but as you said, very hot summers, really nasty winter inversions, smog and such, and icky winters.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I think we’re going to get a “taste” of that famous heat this week-end. Temps are scheduled to hit 90!!! In May!!! Looks like a record for the area. I don’t like big heat, so not exactly looking forward to it, but thankfully we’ve got full hookups and aircon.
      Nina

  21. We stayed at the same park in June of last year. Loved the greenbelt. Make sure Polly stays away from the cheatgrass that is all long the sides of the greenbelt especially by the the horse area! See our post about what happened to our Irish Setter. http://greatescapefromnj.blogspot.com/2012/06/were-from-nj-we-didnt-know.html
    We had to take him to Henricks Vet Hosp. in Boise. We were very happy with them.
    I was surprised that I liked Boise. Lots to do, easy to get around.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks for the warning! Being from CA we’re well-versed with Foxtails and I’d noticed the grass here had similar characteristics, so we’ve been careful. Glad your baby was able to get it diagnosed & healed!
      Nina

  22. LuAnn says:

    We have only ever passed through Boise. Had no idea there was so much nature surrounding the city. Stay out of trouble while Paul is gone. I know, not easy for you, is it? :)

  23. […] Pet friendliness = 5/5 Good area for doggie. There’s limited space at camp, but there is an on-site (large, green) pet-walk area and you are right on the greenbelt for access to miles of walking (and river dips) right from camp. Also, you’re only ~15 mins from the foothills and all the extra hiking there. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.